The Importance of Just Sitting (and 5 Ways to Do It Well)

The Art of Sitting

In general, I am very busy. Too busy. My typical day is spent rushing from meeting to meeting where people want answers to everything and they want them now. And if they don’t want answers, they want something else. And sometimes, I want answers from them or I want something else. Either way, it’s a ceaseless cycle that moves things forward while draining my energy reserves like gasoline in my tank. So how do I refuel? I sit.

Sitting is not complicated, but it is necessary to my survival. And I’m not talking about all the sitting I end up doing in those meetings. I’m talking about sitting alone, quietly, doing nothing, staring into space.

Here are my five sitting tips:

1. Get comfortable. A couch, a comfy chair, a blanket outside, a bed, a hammock. It doesn’t matter as long as you are warm enough, relaxed enough, and preferably, your legs and feet are curled up beneath something and resting. Create spots in your home and yard that are just made for perfect sitting, and places you can go to in your head even if you can’t get there with your actual body.

2. Have a tablet and pen. When you create empty space, thoughts—important thoughts—finally have the room to express themselves. This is where big ideas come from. Insights and clarity. Just sitting and allowing the space to receive messages from the deepest parts of yourself—or the universe, or God, whatever you want to name it. So be prepared with a tablet and pen so you can write it down. There is nothing worse than having a great thought, an insight, or even a poem or a song, and not being able to record it somehow.

3. Look out a window (open it!), or better yet, be outside. Nature is the great facilitator. The great healer. The great reminder. Fresh air, sunshine, fog, crickets, wind, rustling leaves, chirping birds…that’s all the soundtrack and sensory inspiration you need for good sitting.

4. Don’t worry about the clock or the time. You have to find a time when you are not in a rush. Sometimes a five-minute sit is enough. Sometimes a few hours are required. Your body will tell you when it’s time to get up—either because of physical needs like the bathroom or refrigerator or because you are compelled to do something. This is actually how I clean, too. I sit and think about what needs to be done and then get up in a spurt and do it all in quick-time. Then I sit again.

5. Do it again and again. Whenever you feel stuck, tired, in need of ideas or inspiration, sitting is cheap (free, actually) easy, and requires no special attire (in fact, it’s better without any attire at all).

Try it!

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8 Responses to The Importance of Just Sitting (and 5 Ways to Do It Well)

  1. Amy Freitag October 24, 2011 at 6:29 am #

    These are wise words – thanks for reminding us that there is more to life than meetings and tending to kids 24-7!

  2. Sara October 24, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    A 20 minutes yoga session every morning when I wake up is my way to refuel and connect with myself. But I had to go through cancer to find out how important it is to stop running for some time during the day.
    By the way, I am reading “Organic Manifesto”..just great!!


  3. Amy Valentini October 24, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I love your tips … I try to take a time out every day, I’m supposed to for my health but it’s not always easy. My main way to really relax is to sit down for 45 min to an hour and write. Writing is my best stress buster and I feel recharged when I have to stop … I say ‘have to stop’ because if I had my way, I’d just keep right on going forever. : )

  4. Alina October 24, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Love this post, thank you for reminding us. In my heart, I know this is the most important thing to do, to listen to yours and universe wisdom but I allow for it very rarely. Closest to it is when I can’t sleep at night (which does NOT work the same) or the best when I take my goats into woods to help me clear them. I love that part.

  5. Sharon Jones Zondag October 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm #


    One of my recent “finds” was this wonderful quote from Walt Whitman… ” I loaf and invite my soul to join”. I frequently forget this part in my effort to rest, restore and ultimately re-invigorate.

    Sharon z

  6. Debra in Sunny California October 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    I stretch and meditate every morning for at least 5 mins….then during the day I will take a walk for at least 30 mins listening to Thich Nhat Hanh

  7. Mrs. Degand October 31, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    I usually have my coffee in the morning after the kids and husband leave for school and work. I sit with my coffee on the same corner of my big comfy couch and reflect on the weekend and think of some of the things I will do the rest of the week. Mostly I think about how blessed I am and try to pull out emotions and feelings I have at that moment and realize where they are coming from.

  8. ant bur November 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    You should sit for 5 hours each day and pet your cat. When the cat has an idea, you should write it on paper. You crazy old woman!

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